Features Class Of 2012: Friends

Andrew Backhouse talks to Samantha Urbani.

Samantha Urbani from Friends is already starting her New Year’s resolutions. “I’m cleaning my room because it’s a mess,” she tells us down a crackly phone line from her apartment in Bushwick, New York. “My mum is coming to visit me today, we’re gonna go do yoga.” Samantha should enjoy the spare time she gets now, because it’s clear Friends have a busy year ahead.

September 2010 is when it all began. With Samantha living in Berlin for the summer making demos on her laptop, it wasn’t long before her mates heard them and, as soon as she returned, she tells us, “everything just fell into place. One night, we all just happened to be together. I played them my demos and we practiced that night. The chemistry was there from the very beginning, so we knew it was going to turn into something.”

Their steamy debut ‘Friend Crush’ shot into the blogosphere like a white-hot meteorite, and the bass-heavy, eye-popping strut of ‘I’m His Girl’ serves as the perfect anti-anthem for all New York’s hippest rooftop parties. It’s a tantalising glimpse into the mind of Friends.

Samantha tells us of their band name: “We thought of a bunch, but they all sounded too much like band names - like two words. When we thought of Friends it seemed a little bit different. It had a joke quality to it, so we could just say ‘Hi, we’re Friends’.”

Yet in the time of the band being together, it’s come to mean much more than that; it’s come to define what Friends are all about: “inclusivity, connection, community – what we bring to our shows, the way that we make our music, and network and stuff. It’s about losing that hierarchy you see so much in the band/fan relationship.”

It seems to be an ethic many Bushwick bands adopt, there’s definitely a thread running through those coming out of there - a fuzzy, starry-eyed dreamlike charm to them all.

“The scene is really thriving,” Samantha says of Bushwick. And you don’t have to live there to see it. From dream merchant Darwin Deez, to other hotly-tipped Lucky Number signings Caged Animals, also showing ample promise.

Clear out the old and move onto the new. In 2012, we invite you to plunge in at the deep end with Friends. And as far as we’re concerned, it’s not a bad New Year’s resolution.

Taken from the Winter 2011 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.


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